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Your phone addiction could be shortening your life, doctors warn

A number of experts and doctors have warned that overexposure to your smartphone and screens could be shortening your life.

SALT LAKE CITY — Scrolling on your smartphone may be shortening your life.

A number of experts and doctors have warned that overexposure to your smartphone and screens could be having a negative impact on your life, specifically shortening your lifespan.

  • “Your phone is one of the biggest sources of long-term stress in your life, and looking at it constantly is likely shaving years off your life,” according to Inc.

Experts told The New York Times that phone addiction could literally shorten your life. Specifically, doctors warned that we spend way too much time looking at our smartphones, which can affect our stress levels and lead to long-term problems.

  • "Your cortisol levels are elevated when your phone is in sight or nearby, or when you hear it or even think you hear it," University of Connecticut School of Medicine psychiatrist David Greenfield told The New York Times. "It's a stress response, and it feels unpleasant, and the body's natural response is to want to check the phone to make the stress go away."
  • Long-term stress may seem like a small price to pay for checking your Twitter feed. But elevated cortisol levels can be linked to health problems like fertility issues, high blood pressure and even risk of heart attacks.

Dr. Robert Lustig, emeritus professor in pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, agreed.

  • “Every chronic disease we know of is exacerbated by stress,” Lustig told The New York Times. “And our phones are absolutely contributing to this.”

Solutions: But there are ways to curb the issue. For example, Apple has put a heavy focus on lessening screen time by releasing a Screen Time feature, which monitors your daily usage and suggests a way to cut back on phone usage, which I wrote about for the Deseret News.

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal told Inc. that you can break free from addiction by being more mindful of your phone usage

  • "Surf the urge. Pay attention to what it feels like in your body and to your breathing. Think of the urge like a wave you are going to surf, and breathe through it," she said, according to Inc. "Like a wave, it will crash and dissolve. Cravings sustain themselves when your brain and body believe you are going to give in. As soon as you make a commitment not to, it begins to change how the brain is processing the craving."